The Rangers face a difficult decision regarding their captain’s future

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Wells Fargo Center
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers disappointed this postseason in almost every way possible. A once-promising year quickly turned to ash, and another long summer awaits for fans of the Blueshirts.

Of all the players on the roster, this embarrassing collapse can mainly be blamed on the captain, Jacob Trouba. After such a terrible showing from their leader, only one question remains: What should the Rangers do about Trouba this summer?

Trouba’s NMC leaves a buyout as the likeliest option for the Rangers

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) plays the puck against Toronto Maple Leafs center Noah Gregor (18) during the first period at Madison Square Garden
Dec 12, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) plays the puck against Toronto Maple Leafs center Noah Gregor (18) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While a trade might be the most optimal way to get rid of Trouba’s destruction, and $8 million contract, it’s highly unlikely because of the NMC included with his contract. If the Blueshirts want to move on from their captain, they’ll likely have to buy him out.

While a buyout might not be the most attractive option on the table, it does serve some benefits. New York will save $4 million for two seasons, and then will only be down $2 million for the next two years. With Igor Shesterkin and Alexis Lafreniere due for a pay raise in the next year, having as much cap space available as possible right away is a necessity.

If Trouba remains, what should the Rangers do with him?

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) warms up before a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena
Jan 18, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) warms up before a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Trouba’s playoff performance this year was one of the worst fans have seen in many years. Although many would like to see him sent away, chances are that he will remain a Ranger by next fall.

If Trouba remains on the roster, what should the Rangers do with him? The easiest answer is to not play him as much as possible. But having $8 million spent on a third-pairing defenseman who barely plays seems like a waste of space.

Although Trouba’s poor play has nothing to do with his leadership capabilities, certain questionable decisions made by the captain make fans weary of his status as the leader of the team. It would come as no surprise if the Rangers revoked his captainship and handed it to a more deserving player such as Vincent Trocheck, who led the team in postseason points and won the 2024 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award.

Whether Trouba returns to the Rangers or not, one thing is for certain: he is not fit to be the captain of an NHL team.

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